Source: Written by Anna Staver, Statesman Journal

EUGENE – About 400 people filtered through three ballrooms at the the Eugene Hilton Sunday to listening to lectures and business pitches about Oregon’s marijuana industry.

“Everyone is just clamoring for knowledge,” said Alex Rogers, the conference’s organizer. “With all the ambiguity and misinformation going around, I felt it was incumbent upon me to provide good, useful information as the industry starts to expand,”

The two-day Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference is the second of its kind in the Beaver State. The first one took place in Ashland in January.

Both conferences sold out. Rogers takes it as a sign that the once gray cannabis industry in Oregon has moved mainstream.

Dispensaries became legal in Oregon in March thanks to a law passed by the Legislature in 2013. The Oregon Health Authority, which regulates the new businesses, has approved 22 applications statewide — including two in Salem.

“Everyone is just happy that we have this outlet now,” Rogers said. “The biggest accolade I’m getting right now is grateful.”

Twenty-two vendors filled one of the conference room, selling everything from production equipment and marijuana vaporizers or e-cigarettes to memberships in Washington, D.C.-based lobbying groups.

Eric Sfragidas traveled from Central Point to showcase his invention, the Grasshopper extractor.

The purple bucket with its series of vibrating sifters is purported by Sfragidas to drastically reduce the time and cost of separating marijuana crystals from leftover plant parts into a usable product called Kief.

The machines cost $2,000 for conference-goers and $2,500 regularly. Sfragidas had sold two by mid-afternoon Sunday.

At the Green Leaf Lab table, Megan Flynn repeatedly held up a thick plastic bag that resembled one used for crime scene evidence or bank deposits.

“Our tamper proof bags ensure that once a product is tested, no one can switch it out,” Flynn said. “It’s our chain of custody.”

The health authority requires that marijuana sold at Oregon dispensaries be tested for mold, mildew, potency and pesticides.

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